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Do you enjoy learning about the past? Would you like to learn about history in greater depth and detail than you have previously? Do you enjoy writing essays at length and developing critical analysis and evaluation skills? Are you interested about how events in the past influence the present? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then A Level History is the subject for you!
History is the study of the past. You will explore key themes and concepts of change, continuity, cause, consequence, and significance about how society has developed over the period of one hundred years as well as investigating events in detail over a shorter timeframe. You will learn how to analyse primary sources written at the time of events and to evaluate how strong an argument put across by an historian is. The subject develops key writing skills including how to put across an argument and back this up with evidence.
The History A Level is taken across two years and is sat on the AQA exam board. At the end of the first year, you will sit the AS exams which test knowledge on what you have learnt from that year. You will then go onto to sit the full A Level in the second year which covers content from both years. You will also complete a 4,500-word Non-Examined Assessment (Coursework) which is worth 20% of your overall grade.
A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including GCSE Maths.
A grade 5 in GCSE English Language and a grade 5 in GCSE English Literature, or a grade 5 in GCSE History (if taken).
Over the two years you will study a breadth study that focuses on British history called: The Tudors, 1485 – 1603, and a depth study that focuses on non-British history called Democracy and Nazism, Germany 1918 – 1945. You will also complete an historical investigation on the Development of Black Civil Rights in the United States 1863-1968 for the NEA.
1. The Tudors – Part one: Consolidation of the Tudor Dynasty: England, 1485 – 1547: In this unit you will look at how Henry VII came to power, how he developed the powers of the monarchy and what changes he made to local and national government and policies. You will also look at the development of his foreign policy and how the economy and society developed during his reign. You will then go on to look at Henry VIII’s reign and the development of his government is response to the English Reformation. You will evaluate how successful his foreign policy was as well as the impact of his economic policies on society. You will examine how these developments tie into change and continuity over time.
2. Democracy and Nazism – Part one: the Weimar Republic, 1918 – 1933: You will study the establishment and early years of the Weimar Republic including the political, economic and social challenges faced by the new republic between 1918 and 1923. You will then explore the ‘Golden Age’ of the Weimar Republic between 1924 and 1928, seen as a period of stability and optimism. Lastly you will look at the factors that led to collapse of the Weimar Republic between 1928 and 1933 and what led to the rise of Nazism in Germany.
3. The Development of Black Civil Rights in the United States, 1863 – 1968: At the end of the first year, you will start the background research for the non-examined assessment (coursework). You will look at how Black Civil Rights developed from the end of the American Civil War in through a period of just over one hundred years to the era of Martin Luther King and Malcom X.
1. The Tudors – Part two: England: turmoil and triumph, 1547 – 1603: You will study the events of the Mid-Tudor crisis, looking at the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I. You will examine the development of the powers of the monarch, foreign and religious policy before continuing to explore the reign of Elizabeth I. In this part you will look at the religious settlement, crises in government and England’s involvement in the Dutch Revolt. You will finish the unit by looking at the development of arts and culture during the reign of Elizabeth I before examining the development of key themes across the entire Tudor period.
2. Democracy and Nazism – Part two: Nazi Germany, 1933 – 1945: In the second half of the depth study, you will examine how the Nazis consolidated their power, how they created a terror state and explore Nazi economic and social policies, including the Volksgemeinschaft. You will also look at the development of Nazi racial policies from 1933 to 1945. Lastly you will examine the impact of World War II on Germany and evaluate how effective Nazi economic and wartime policies were through to the collapse of the regime in 1945.
3. The Development of Black Civil Rights in the United States, 1863 – 1968: In the first half of the second year, you will take your research on Black Civil Rights and undertake an historical enquiry into how Black Civil Rights developed in America. You will explore the roles of key individuals and examine key turning points. You NEA will consist of a 4,500-word essay in response to a question you have written on this period.
History is a great subject to study not only if you want to do a degree involving the study of the subject, but also if you want to go on to do any essay-based degree. It develops the key skills of writing and constructing an argument as well as looking at evidence. Completing a History A Level is also useful for a range of different careers which involve report writing or research skills from a policy analysist to journalism. Useful subject combinations to take History with include Politics due to the carryover of themes in the content, Law due to examining the legal process and its evolution, Sociology due to looking at the development of groups in society and Geography or English Literature to give you a humanities specialism.
There are a range of opportunities for learning outside the classroom with history. The History department undertakes both local trips to the ‘Red Lodge Museum’ in Bristol alongside trips further afield to places like Hampton Court Palace. We also have been able to take learners to Auschwitz-Birkenau and hear from Holocaust survivors. We have also previously attended History Conferences to help prepare learners for their exams. As an historian, you can also join our History Academy which has included guest speakers from the SS Great Britain and develops an awareness of history around you and approaches to the subject.